A well known part of Japanese culture is Taiko (太鼓), a special type of drumming that has become popular around the world. Taiko can be used to describe Japanese drums called wadaiko (和太鼓 "Japanese drums") and also the style drumming.
Taiko drums are built with a tube-shaped body - usually made from wood. The tube is sealed at both ends and completely empty in the middle, which is how they make a loud sound when the drums are played.
Creating a taiko drum can take several years depending on how it is produced. Watch the video below to see Miles Endo building a Hira Taiko.
According to Japanese folklore, the Taiko music was created when the Shinto deity Amaterasu was angry and hiding in a cave. The story says that the goddess Ame-no-Uzume convinced her to leave the cave by dancing on an empty barrel.
Instead of this story, historians think that Japanese men learned to play drums when visiting Korea - and that's why they were inspired to create the Taiko.
Since then, Taiko have been used in religious ceremonies, performances and even during wars. The loud sound of the drums was used to encourage Japanese soldiers and scare the enemy.
Kumi-daiko performance is when many people are playing on different Taiko drums at the same time. Drummers use different types of barrel-shaped drums. Some groups play other instruments as well as the drums. Kumi-daiko performances are popular in Japan and around the world, including Australia.
Did you know that there are places in Australia where you can learn how to play Taiko?
Can you think of any other traditional Japanese instruments?
Takoyaki (たこ焼き or 蛸焼) is a popular street food from Osaka in Japan - a small ball-shaped Japanese snack made with octopus meat.
Takoyaki is made with batter (like pancakes) and small pieces of octopus, cooked in a special pan. It is brushed with takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise, and sprinkled with green laver and dried bonito. Watch the video to see how it is made:
As Takoyaki has become more popular around Japan and the world, many variations have been created. These might be made with ponzu sauce, goma-dare and vinegared dashi.
In some areas of Japan, people eat Takoyaki as a snack food. Other parts of Japan often eat it as part of their main meal.
The "yaki" part of the word takoyaki comes from "yaku" (焼く), which is a Japanese cooking method of frying or grilling food.
Can you think of any other popular Japanese foods that have 'yaki' in their name?